It’s important to ensure proper support for a continuously evolving remote working world, given the current day challenges that Covid-19 has put forth for both, employers and businesses. Jennifer Mitchell, Head of People at NetBase Quid shares a few best practices that can help in this chat with TecHRseries:
Tell us a little about yourself Jennifer…we’d love to hear about your journey so far…as Head of People at Netbase Quid: what’s a typical day at work like?
I began my career in business banking where I held many lead roles in areas such as sales, clients, operations, governance, risk, and compliance. After that, my career moved on to human resources and I haven’t looked back.
This was a pivotal moment and the beginning of my journey in the connection between human potential and the workforce. I became fascinated with the return on investment companies could get from their people when they valued respect and trust versus fear and intimidation. I could see an amazing evolution within companies from the traditional and dated workings of HR and into the new and incredible world of the People department function. This disruption was an amazing revolution and we began to see what it actually takes to run a workforce in today’s world and be sustainable. It is data driven, it is backed by science, it is filled with compassion, real strategy, it is mindful, and it is people driven. As I moved into higher level HR and People leadership positions, I felt this immense responsibility to help create a world in the workforce where people thrive and feel safe. I was constantly challenging myself with learning more about this every single day.
At NetBase Quid, we are growing every day. And first and foremost for me, a typical day includes focusing on delivering quality customer service for all of our employee needs. The rest of my day is focused on strategy, initiatives and projects that align to the company’s vision and support an all-in approach, beyond automation, that is real-time, quick and simple, improves employee agility, facilitates communication, grants digital access to intelligent services and taps into the skills of our diverse and global workforce.
As a people management leader: what are some of the most critical employee retention and management skills that you feel are crucial when working through a pandemic?
I would say in order to continue to support an evolving and remote workforce, particularly one during a pandemic, managers should embrace:
– Frequent, clear, and transparent communication but with cadence
– Understand each direct report and their individual work style and be certain they understand that they are valued
– Clearly define goals and/or KPI’s, support open dialogue, and implement a continuous two-way feedback model,
– Fully embrace digitization and digitalization to support ongoing digital transformation
– Maintain a remote “open door” policy, meaning ensure that staff feel safe to reach out at any time should they need something
– Embrace, define, and share one’s own leadership values such as trust, respect, appreciation, collaboration, partnership, and high expectations
– Continue to automate and centralize workflows, clearly define roles and responsibilities, and/or have clear project prioritization
– Fully support mental health and resources
– Set boundaries around work times and expectations so staff does not feel like they are always “on”
– Continue to have fun!
We’d love to hear about your top people culture and most successful company culture programs…over the years: some of the top strategies you’ve driven?
Culture is a concept based on a combination of a shared set of beliefs where employees know how to respond, that it’s correct, and they know how they will be rewarded for it. This takes shape from the leadership’s behavior, communication style, messaging and celebrations. This is also done through influential aspects such as the company’s degree of hierarchy, urgency, resolution of conflict, etc. As an HR professional, I am the caretaker of the culture and it is my job to ensure that the organization’s culture will continue and thrive.
That said, although there are programs to support this, I have always held the firm belief that the most successful, powerful and sustainable culture initiatives happen by defining the company culture via mapping, fully supporting it as a leader, and then marrying it into each and everything we do. No one program or business unit can do this alone. Also, culture is ever changing. It must be for companies of our nature to grow and merge with others.
So my biggest success by far has been recognized by my relentless effort in supporting culture by keeping my finger on the pulse of the company; being a role model for the organization’s beliefs; ensuring that the organizational values are defined, understood and practiced; being an enabler for feedback channels, educating and training other leaders; defining accountability; supporting continuous learning and training; sustaining reward and recognition systems; empowering teams and people.
As HR leaders respond to the business needs of the new normal; what are some of the top thoughts you’d share with them when it comes to implementing HR Tech to drive business goals and strengthen employee practices and policies in our new normal?
Be certain to embrace continuous learning mindset and understand new technology and trends, understand your company’s current and future strategy and plan, understand other internal departments dependencies such as IT and Finance, and align all of this with your department’s HR Digital transformation plan.
It is important to be a thought leader and be able to continuously think about how to support the organization and its future. Embrace an ‘always-on” learning for all, automating processes, and supporting an employee experience that is a journey that is in real time and accessible.
This is different for every organization, so it is important to fully understand the current business needs and capabilities, understand where they need to be in the future, and align that into your roadmap.
What are some of the top tech trends and in-demand skills you feel will dominate HR and hiring in the tech marketplace in 2021?
For soft skills, I would say agility, ability to work with little supervision, a continuous learning mindset, and high EQ. For hard skills, I would say understanding digital transformation and being able to embrace the new continued disruption and changes that it brings. Also, cybersecurity, IoT, machine learning, and AI.
Before we wrap up, we’d love to hear a little about NetBase Quid’s employee and company culture
The NetBase Quid employees are passionate, authentic and resilient. I am continuously impressed by them. Their day-to-day commitment is impactful and speaks volumes to the type of organization that we are.
As for our company culture, I would describe it as customer-focused and ethical, technology and data driven, innovative, fun, and with a family feel.
And lastly, a few of your biggest takeaways and tips on working effectively from anywhere….and adjusting to the new normal.
Have an organized and comfortable set-up for working (mobile or set-up at home), become comfortable with remote communication and maintain effective and productive open-dialogues, follow a routine, set healthy boundaries and goals for work and personal life, move frequently and/or exercise, take mental breaks, feel good and supported about reaching out to external and internal resources if you need to speak to someone, and most of all, stay open minded and be forgiving of yourself and others during this time.
NetBase Quid is the next generation consumer and market intelligence platform, delivering contextual insights to reveal business trends, connect with consumers, and understand the story behind competitors and the market. The platform uses advanced artificial intelligence to process billions of indexed resources across all forms of structured and unstructured data, empowering our brand, agency and consulting services customers to make smart, data driven decisions accurately, quickly and efficiently. NetBase Quid is a trusted partner of American Airlines, Coca-Cola, Ogilvy, T-Mobile, United Airlines, YUM! Brands, Walmart, Hyundai, Wunderman Thompson, Microsoft, BCG and The New York Times.
Jennifer is an employee-centric human capital strategist who brings a great deal of experience in people and human resources expertise to NetBase Quid. Having held senior leadership and advisory roles within various landscapes of emerging growth companies ranging from start-ups to IPO, she has proactively delivered results and created organizational excellence through periods of rapid change. Jenny is driven by a deep commitment to create an employee experience that enables, empowers, engages, and unlocks human potential. Her relentless focus on making a company a fantastic place to work, coupled with her guiding principles that put people at the center of everything a company does, has made her a highly recognized and trusted leader.
Jenny graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Irvine and she is an active and certified member through the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).